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  1. Buster Posey is set to retire, and speculation has already started about his chances at Cooperstown election. Since he played catcher in the same era as Joe Mauer, how do the two compare? On the surface, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey seem to have similar cases for Cooperstown. Mauer hit .306/.388/.439 (.827) while earning three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, and six All-Star appearances. Posey hit .302/.372/.460 (.831) while earning a Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers, and seven All-Star appearances. Both players won an MVP, and Posey won two fewer batting titles than Mauer. JAWS is one way to measure a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness as it averages their career WAR with their 7-year peak WAR. Mauer currently has the seventh-best JAWS total among catchers as he trails only Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fish, Mike Piazza, and Yogi Berra. Those are the best catchers in baseball history. Posey doesn’t rank quite as well, according to JAWS, as he finished his career ranked 14th. This puts him below the average of the Hall of Famers at this position. However, other factors impact Posey’s candidacy. He was a three-time World Series champion, and that certainly plays a role in his Cooperstown case. Mauer and Posey both have some unique characteristics for the voters to consider. Mauer is the only catcher to win three batting titles, and he topped the .400 OBP mark in six of his seasons at catcher. Posey finished in the top-20 for MVP voting in six seasons, including three in the top-10. Mauer finished in the top-20 in MVP voting in five different seasons with four seasons in the top-10. Posey is in elite company when narrowing down his career to a six-year window. From 2012-2017, only Mike Trout had a higher fWAR total, and the next closest player is Josh Donaldson. Mauer’s best six-year stretch (2005-2010) ranks him as having baseball’s fourth-highest fWAR total behind Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, and Alex Rodriguez. He also played 70 fewer games than any of the players ahead of him on the list. Another commonality between Posey and Mauer is that their careers ended earlier than some of the other greats at the position. Posey is walking away at age-34 after one of the best seasons of his career. After concussions, Mauer retired following his age-35 season, which forced him to become a primary first baseman for his final five seasons. It seems like both players have a good chance of eventually getting inducted. Mauer becomes eligible for the first time in 2024, while Posey will be eligible in 2027. There will be plenty of talk about Posey being a Hall of Fame player as he rides off into the sunset. If that is the case, Mauer’s credentials should make him a lock for Cooperstown. Do you think both Mauer and Posey will be elected to the Hall of Fame? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. On the surface, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey seem to have similar cases for Cooperstown. Mauer hit .306/.388/.439 (.827) while earning three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, and six All-Star appearances. Posey hit .302/.372/.460 (.831) while earning a Gold Glove, four Silver Sluggers, and seven All-Star appearances. Both players won an MVP, and Posey won two fewer batting titles than Mauer. JAWS is one way to measure a player’s Hall of Fame worthiness as it averages their career WAR with their 7-year peak WAR. Mauer currently has the seventh-best JAWS total among catchers as he trails only Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fish, Mike Piazza, and Yogi Berra. Those are the best catchers in baseball history. Posey doesn’t rank quite as well, according to JAWS, as he finished his career ranked 14th. This puts him below the average of the Hall of Famers at this position. However, other factors impact Posey’s candidacy. He was a three-time World Series champion, and that certainly plays a role in his Cooperstown case. Mauer and Posey both have some unique characteristics for the voters to consider. Mauer is the only catcher to win three batting titles, and he topped the .400 OBP mark in six of his seasons at catcher. Posey finished in the top-20 for MVP voting in six seasons, including three in the top-10. Mauer finished in the top-20 in MVP voting in five different seasons with four seasons in the top-10. Posey is in elite company when narrowing down his career to a six-year window. From 2012-2017, only Mike Trout had a higher fWAR total, and the next closest player is Josh Donaldson. Mauer’s best six-year stretch (2005-2010) ranks him as having baseball’s fourth-highest fWAR total behind Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, and Alex Rodriguez. He also played 70 fewer games than any of the players ahead of him on the list. Another commonality between Posey and Mauer is that their careers ended earlier than some of the other greats at the position. Posey is walking away at age-34 after one of the best seasons of his career. After concussions, Mauer retired following his age-35 season, which forced him to become a primary first baseman for his final five seasons. It seems like both players have a good chance of eventually getting inducted. Mauer becomes eligible for the first time in 2024, while Posey will be eligible in 2027. There will be plenty of talk about Posey being a Hall of Fame player as he rides off into the sunset. If that is the case, Mauer’s credentials should make him a lock for Cooperstown. Do you think both Mauer and Posey will be elected to the Hall of Fame? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. I sat in the stands back in 2006 as the Twins were locking up the AL Central and Mauer beat out multiple Yankees for his first batting title. At the time, I certainly thought it was great for a catcher to win a batting title, but I didn’t fully appreciate what it meant for a backstop to be able to not only play a physically demanding position, but to also hit at an ungodly level. He would go on to win batting titles in 2008 and 2009 before being named the American League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2009 campaign. He is the only catcher to win three batting titles. I don’t appreciate that enough and Twins fans don’t appreciate that enough. He was one of the best hitting catchers in baseball history and that’s why the Twins signed him to a franchise-altering contract. The National Baseball Hall of Fame collects information on possible future inductee and Mauer has some unique qualifications for the Hall of Fame. He topped the .400 mark in on-base percentage in six of his seasons at catcher, a total exceeded by only four other catchers. None of those catchers started their careers after 1930. Let that sink in for a minute. Mauer was a once-in-a-generation catcher… No, that’s not enough. He was more than once-in-a-generation and not enough praise is put on what he was able to do behind the plate. There were other very good catchers during the Mauer era, but none of them were able to match his offensive output. Yadier Molina, Jorge Posada, and Buster Posey all played in the same era as Mauer, but none were able to match his combination of offensive output and defensive capability. He was truly a once in a generation player. Batting titles alone certainly don’t qualify a player for baseball’s highest honor. That being said, Mauer’s circumstances are clearly unique. He won multiple batting titles while playing the most physically, and likely mentally, demanding position in the sport and he did so while being one of the best players in the game. He saw the ball. He hit the ball. And he did that better than any player to put on catching gear. No other American League catcher has won a single batting title. Not to mention, Mauer was able to pull off the trifecta. How much do Mauer’s batting titles help his Cooperstown Case? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Baseball quite literally is not making ballplayers like Joe Mauer anymore. In fact, he’s potentially the last of a bygone era, during which striking out was still frowned upon by coaches and downright despised by some players. Joe Mauer hates striking out — so much so he struck out just once in high school. Even as Major League Baseball evolved into a game with more pitchers throwing harder and nastier pitches than ever before, Mauer refused to change his approach and was good enough to not only get away with it, but force defenses to adjust to him just as Barry Bonds before him. Mauer received one of the most extreme defensive outfield shifts in baseball, and he got his hits despite it. Of the top 21 seasons in overall strikeouts in MLB history, Mauer played in 15. He struck out more than 100 times just once, and his OPS+ was under 100 in just two seasons of his career. But some still think Mauer was overpaid given the expectancy for him to catch full-time. Addressing Mauer’s Haters Mauer, a soft-spoken, Minnesota-nice guy, has his share of haters who think he should have cowboyed up and got behind the plate to earn his $23 million every year despite a concussion issue that not only threatened his career but his life off the field. An issue that reappeared this season upon a dive for a ball at first base and might be responsible for Mauer’s indecision regarding his playing future. Mauer’s haters should know over the course of his career, the Twins paid Joe just $374,856.42 more per win above a replacement player than the Marlins and Tigers paid Cabrera, and the Tigers still owe him at least $154 million. The Twins paid just $728,825.30 more per win above a replacement player than the Cardinals and Angels have paid Pujols, who’s still owed $87 million. If you average the WAR of both Cabrera and Pujols over their last seven years across the remaining years of their contracts, their cost per win above a replacement player balloons to $381,619.65 and $80,136.39 more per WAR than Joe, respectively. Not being overpaid relative to his fellow first basemen won’t make Mauer a first-ballot Hall of Famer like Pujols and Cabrera, but it doesn’t hurt. The Hall of Fame Question Most will say Mauer’s six All-Star appearances and 2,123 hits aren’t enough. Most will say he never won a playoff series. Most will say his 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) isn’t even as good as another former Twin (David Ortiz, 55.3) despite it being top-100 all time amongst Hall of Fame position players and 151st all time in MLB history, according to Baseball Reference. Mauer’s integrity and humility are Hall-of-Fame caliber, however. Unlike Ortiz, who failed a 2003 performance-enhancing drug test, Mauer’s legacy is unquestioned and untarnished. Although Mauer only played in the post-steroid era of Major League Baseball (the drug policy as we know it was first implemented and enforced in 2004), he’s someone who might have benefited from steroids and had an “opportunity” to use them after sustaining a knee injury in his rookie season. At 21, Joe knew better, and at 28, when his body struggled recovering from surgery and then fell ill with pneumonia, Mauer probably never even considered using steroids. Mauer came back in 2012 to lead the league in on-base percentage (OBP), beating his 2011 OBP by 56 points (.420). His .351 OBP in 2018 is the worst of his career and was still the 50th-best in baseball and 10 percent better than the MLB average (.318). He was top-10 in league OBP and batting average seven times and top-10 in Adjusted OPS+ six times in his career. Mauer’s .3063 career batting average is, ironically, identical to his Hall of Fame manager’s, good for 138th-best all time. But Paul Molitor has 1,196 more hits than Joe. Regardless, Mauer’s career batting average is sandwiched between Hall of Famers Ernie Lombardi and George Kell, and is better than that of the next-best hitting catcher of his era, Buster Posey (.306). Mauer’s the only catcher ever to win three batting titles, too. But what makes Hall of Famers is their relative dominance of their respective eras. Barry Bonds didn’t have to beat Babe Ruth in career home runs; he just needed to dominate his era like Ruth his. Mauer is a Hall of Famer given his place amongst his peers. When compared to his peers, from 2004 to 2018, Mauer’s batting average ranks ninth, between Mike Trout and Buster Posey. His OBP is twelfth, between Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and Bryce Harper. His Weighted Runs Created (WRC) is tenth, whereas Posey ranks 94th. On an All-MLB 2004–18 Team, Mauer would clearly be the catcher, and he’s probably the fourth-best first baseman of his generation, behind Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and Joey Votto — all first-ballot Hall of Famers. Mauer’s numbers aren’t first-ballot-Hall-of-Fame worthy, but the way he represented the game of baseball and himself on and off the field is worthy of first-ballot consideration, which he’ll receive. Joe might even be a victim of the Hall of Fame shrinking the length of time players stay on the ballot from 15 years to 10. Mauer won’t be eligible for induction until 2023 at the earliest, but judging from the lack of retirees expected this season, he could benefit from a lack of competition. We don’t know if this is Adrian Beltre’s final season, and if it isn’t, Mauer could be sharing the ballot with holdovers from previous years, not including Bonds or Roger Clemens, who will fall off the ballot in three years. Even if Joe isn’t voted into the MLB Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, he will most certainly get support from the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee. One way or another, Joe Mauer is a Hall of Fame player. Personally, I’d like to see if he’s a Hall of Fame manager.
  5. In my post that I wrote earlier today, I asked a simple question. Are we living in the "Golden Age" of catchers? There have been some great eras for catchers in the past but this season could turn out to be one of the best seasons ever for players behind the plate. Do you think we are in the midst of the "Golden Age" of catchers? If you had to pick one catcher to build a team around, who would it be? Why? Here are some of the players to pick from or feel free to select someone not on this list. AL Catchers: Mike Napoli, Alex Avila, Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez, Jesus Montero, Travis d'Arnaud NL Catchers: Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina, Wilson Ramos, Brian McCann, Buster Posey, Devin Mesoraco
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